This November, our county will again be looking at a ballot initiative to help fund Trails, Arts, and Parks (or TAP as you may be hearing it called around the valley). Officially, it will appear as Proposition 3 on the ballot. I urge you to carefully consider supporting “Prop 3.”
As the director of Heber Valley Tourism, Economic Development, and the Chamber of Commerce, I fully support this initiative as it will help enhance many of the features we all love about living here. Over the past 10 years, I have come to know many of the strengths of our valley. Aside from our awesome community spirit, outdoor recreation has become one of our strongest attractions and contributors to an excellent quality of life. The TAP program will help build and maintain trails and parks, and will also support our burgeoning arts scene.
My family and I love to use the trails throughout the valley. One of our favorites is the Nature Trail at Wasatch Mountain State Park. My kids love the tree-covered path and hopping around the boulders of the ancient glacier wash. What really excites me about the TAP program is the future growth of more trails with more bike paths creating alternative ways to explore the county. I look forward to the day when we can ride our bikes from the Heber Valley Railroad depot to Bridal Veil Falls, then hop aboard the train for a scenic ride back. The TAP program can make projects like this happen.
I also think about new parks, upgrading existing parks, and how that will contribute to more accessible, usable open space for all of us in the county to enjoy. From the concerts and farmers markets to the county fair to Swiss Days, and the many neighborhood parks, we all have enjoyed these amenities many times a year (if not daily). With the TAP program, our community can invest in more open green space in the form of parks that provide public access and year-round beauty.
I love the arts. We have some amazingly talented people in our valley who give so much to their craft. With the help from TAP funds, our arts programs can grow! Over the past few years, groups such as the Community Alliance for Main Street (CAMS), Wasatch Arts Council, and a myriad of performing groups have been working hard to add art to the public sphere. Murals are going up throughout the valley, theatrical performances are happening all year long, live music from local musicians are popping up in more places, and so much more. The TAP program will let us … ahem… “tap” into more of our creative resources.
So, let’s get real. These funds don’t come from nowhere. Prop 3 on the ballot authorizes a one tenth of one percent sales tax on items bought in Wasatch County. In other words, for every $10 spent in the county, one penny goes to the TAP program. To be clear, this is NOT a property tax. It is only a sales tax and it is not levied on groceries or gasoline. It’s also important to know that a significant proportion of sales taxes generated in the valley come from visitors, as much as 46 percent. Nearly half! That means for these amenities we all want, much of the funds will come from people living outside our valley.
You may not realize this, but we all have experience with this type of program. Every time any of us shop in Provo, Orem, Park City, or anywhere in Salt Lake County, we are contributing to their versions of the TAP program. If we help contribute to their successful programs, it is time to have our visitors contribute to our community in a more meaningful way.
I strongly urge you to consider voting "YES" for Prop 3 for Trails, Arts, and Parks this November.
Heber Valley Tourism, Economic Development, Chamber of Commerce